The thousands who flocked to Germany for the United Nations climate summit will end up, rather ironically, emitting thousands of tons of the very greenhouse gases attendees want to regulate.
The U.N. admits the “lion’s share of greenhouse gas emissions” associated with their latest climate summit, and up to 25,000 people are expected to attend the U.N. summit in Bonn, which kicked off Monday.
Most attendees will get to Bonn by aircraft, the U.N. said. Representatives from governments, environmental groups, businesses and media outlets will flood the U.N.’s World Conference Center to discuss, among other things, the 2015 Paris climate agreement on climate change.
While the U.N. has taken steps to power the conference and associated transportation with “clean” energy, most of the emissions associated with the climate summit will come from air travel.
Pierre-Henri Guignard, the secretary general of the 2015 summit, told The New York Times that year that “85 percent of the carbon footprint of the conference is linked to travel by the delegations.”
The 2015 conference in Paris was held at Le Bourget, Europe’s busiest private jet airport. That U.N. conference emitted more than 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide, in no small part thanks to the large number of national leaders that attended the event.
President Barack Obama’s attendance of the Paris summit cost taxpayers $2,976,296.20, according to records obtained by Judicial Watch. Obama’s flight on Air Force One alone emitted 189 tons of CO2, more than what 31 U.S. homes emit in a year.
Obama’s travel to the 2014 U.N. climate summit in New York City emitted nearly 22 times more CO2 than the average American emits in an entire year. The president’s plane and massive security detail really adds up.
The Paris summit, however, was much larger than Bonn. Nearly 150 world leaders and 45,000 people attended the summit — most of those people traveled long distances by plane.
The U.N. encouraged participants at Bonn to “offset” their airline emissions through buying “emissions reductions credits,” including credits to help small island nations cope with projected global warming.
Basically, individuals or companies can purchase “credits” that fund green energy projects, reforestation or other projects that sequester CO2 that, in theory, offset air travel.
Emissions offsets have come under intense scrutiny in recent years. In 2013, the Atlantic reported on rampant fraud in another U.N. carbon offset scheme meant curbing CO2 emissions from deforestation.
The Atlantic reported “many projects that don’t meet the UN’s environmental requirements end up eventually being sold on the voluntary carbon market” and other “projects offer carbon credits that are inflated in number based on misleading methodologies, do not exist on anything but paper … may serve as a front for other illicit activities.”
Conference organizers also took pains to make sure they get as much green energy as possible and use electric vehicles. All “unavoidable” emissions from the Bonn conference will be offset by the German government.
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